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Qatar Moto2, Lusail RACE | Alonso Lopez defence holds firm to deny brilliant Barry Baltus

Gold & Goose

Alonso Lopez was rewarded for his stiff late defence against Barry Baltus in the Qatar Moto2 to claim victory in a hard-fought and unpredictable opening round for the 2024 Moto2 World Championship.

In a race dominated by wildly varying fortunes for many riders seemingly centred around the new Pirelli tyres - not least non-scoring title tips Fermin Aldeguer and Tony Arbolino - Lopez held firm out front to secure his first win since 2022.

Though not the Speed Up Racing rider many expected to come out on top ahead of the weekend, Lopez dispelled a reputation of being ragged in the heat of battle to assume the lead at just past the mid-way stage before proving rock solid in the face of repeated waves of attack from an inspired Baltus.


Indeed, though the Belgian couldn’t quite penetrate Lopez’s armoury - despite staying on his rear wheel throughout each of the final four laps - second place represents not only his first trip to the rostrum in Moto2, but also marks a long-awaited first podium for stalwart Dutch team RW Racing GP.

While this was a race that was always expected to throw a few curve balls, particularly after the only other Moto2 session held during evening hours was scuppered by rain on Friday, for many Aron Canet on pole started as the big favourite.

It was a status he seemed capable of upholding, despite a terrible getaway that had him running down in eighth place through the first turns. However, after quickly picking his way back up the order, Canet was in the lead on lap three and - given his times in practice - expected to simply stream away on the Fantic Racing machine.

However, having differed from those around him by choosing the medium rear tyre instead of the soft, it soon became clear that Canet was having difficulties managing his rubber even before the race reached its mid-way stage.

He wasn’t the only rider in trouble either with Aldeguer and Arbolino - who briefly ran as high as third before plummeting sharply from lap six - both struggling to stay with the pace around them, while lesser fancied riders began to slowly ascend the order.

Up at the front, though Canet held firm for a time, he couldn’t prevent both Lopez - who’d got the hole-shot initially - and Manuel Gonzalez from slipping back past on lap six, the two Spaniards proceeding to engage in their own entertaining tussle for the lead.

Though Lopez - who’d repeatedly look swiftest in a straight line down the home straight - took up the baton initially on lap eight, Gonzalez was back through on him at Turn 6 on lap ten.

Into the second-half of the race, however, the tide would begin to turn for Gonzalez who after losing the lead to Lopez into Turn 1 with eight laps to go, was then dumped down to third by a fiery Baltus.

The Belgian - who came into this race with a previous personal best result of sixth - had lingered on the back of the lead group for the opening-half of the race but began to make headway as Canet and then Gonzalez began to fade.


It was a charge that took him right onto the rear-wheel of Lopez, Baltus proceeding to shadow the Boscoscuro closely coming into the final stages as he tried to find a route through for a shock first win in Moto2.

Credit then to Lopez who, despite persistent pressure from a seemingly faster Baltus, would faultlessly stay strong on the brakes into the slower turns. It was a trend he’d maintain right to the final corner, Baltus’ attempts to force a mistake coming to no avail as the Speed Up rider powered across the line for his third career Moto2 win.

Baltus was nonetheless a delighted second in a landmark result for an RW Racing GP team that were very nearly forced to quit the GP paddock after losing its title sponsor in the direct run-up to the race weekend.

There were surprise results to be had behind him too with Sergio Garcia putting in a mighty performance to claim third. The Spaniard was comfortably the fastest rider on track as he picked his way up the order, despite running as low as 12th on lap five of 16.


Though his challenge would fade somewhat in the closing laps, third still represents both his and the new MT Helmets-MSI team’s first podium. In a double celebration for the Spanish team - making its debut in the intermediate class - Ai Ogura came home in fourth, making it a 1-3-4 for the Boscoscuro chassis.

Gonzalez faded to fifth at the flag, chased home by the two American Racing bikes of Marcos Ramirez and Joe Roberts in sixth and seventh, while Albert Arenas - who fought with the leaders initially - was eighth.

Despite running outside the points for much of the race, Celestino Vietti hauled himself up to a solid ninth to start Red Bull KTM Ajo’s title defence with a top ten finish, while early leader Canet found himself a disgruntled tenth.

With the order changing right to the flag as some riders lost upwards of five seconds on their best lap times towards the end, Somkiat Chantra came home in 11th, ahead of Jeremy Alcoba, Zonta van den Goorbergh and Bo Bendsneyder, while Deniz Oncu picked up the 15th and final point as the top rookie on his Moto2 debut.

As for Aldeguer - a winner in Qatar only four months ago - the Spaniard pointed to his front tyre at the end of a race where he never ran inside the top ten. The pre-season favourite eventually crossed the line in 16th, meaning he starts the year without a point to his name.

Arbolino, meanwhile, fared even worse, the Italian dropping from an early fight inside the top three to a lowly 20th, just ahead of his Marc VDS team-mate Filip Salac.

🇶🇦 🏁 2024 Qatar Moto2 Lusail | RACE Results

Sunday | Conditions - Dry
🇶🇦 🏁 2024 Qatar Moto2 Results | Lusail International Circuit, Qatar | RACE Results
1Alonso Lopez🇪🇦Sync SpeedUpBoscoscuro18 Laps
2Barry Baltus🇧🇪RW-Idofoglia Racing GPKalex+0.055
3Sergio Garcia🇪🇦MT Helmets - MSIBoscoscuro+0.742
4Ai Ogura🇯🇵MT Helmets - MSIBoscoscuro+1.514
5Manuel Gonzalez🇪🇦QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 TeamKalex+5.100
6Marcos Ramirez🇪🇦OnlyFans American Racing TeamKalex+5.320
7Joe Roberts🇺🇲OnlyFans American Racing TeamKalex+9.058
8Albert Arenas🇪🇦QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 TeamKalex+9.210
9Celestino Vietti🇮🇹Red Bull KTM AjoKalex+10.710
10Aron Canet🇪🇦Fantic RacingKalex+10.879
11Somkiat Chantra🇹🇭Idemitsu Honda Team AsiaKalex+15.066
12Jeremy Alcoba🇫🇷Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp TeamKalex+18.986
13Zonta van den Goorbergh🇳🇱RW-Idofoglia Racing GPKalex+19.038
14Bo Bendsneyder🇳🇱Pertamina Mandalika GasUp TeamKalex+22.338
15Deniz Oncu🇹🇷Red Bull KTM AjoKalex+22.568
16Fermin Aldeguer🇪🇦Sync SpeedUpBoscoscuro+25.220
17Senna Agius🇦🇺Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GPKalex+27.060
18Darryn Binder🇿🇦Italtrans Racing TeamKalex+28.515
19Dennis Foggia🇮🇹Italtrans Racing TeamKalex+30.099
20Tony Arbolino🇮🇹Elf Marc VDS Racing TeamKalex+30.356
21Filip Salac🇨🇿Elf Marc VDS Racing TeamKalex+41.203
22Diogo Moreira🇧🇷Italtrans Racing TeamKalex+43.118
23Xavi Cardelus🇦🇩Fantic RacingKalex+43.185
24Mario Aji🇮🇩Idemitsu Honda Team AsiaKalex+43.259
25Jaume Masia🇪🇦Pertamina Mandalika GasUp TeamKalex+43.623
26Alex Escrig🇪🇦KLINT Forward Factory TeamForward+1m 07.049
27Xavier Artigas🇪🇦KLINT Forward Factory TeamForward+1m 07.149
DNFIzan Guevara🇪🇦CFMoto Aspar TeamKalex-
DNFAyumu Sasaki🇯🇵Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp TeamKalex-
WJake Dixon🇬🇧CFMoto Aspar TeamKalex-

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